Court hearing shows challenges of managing Prince's estate

- For the first time, disagreements among the potential heirs of Prince’s estate were on public display. The divisions occurred during a hearing to determine whether Bremer Trust, the Special Administrator managing the estate in the short term, can hire outside experts to help convert assets into cash, and pay expenses. 

The hearing took place Tuesday afternoon at the Carver County courthouse in Chaska, Minn. Almost all of the attorneys attended via conference call. 

The lawyers for Bremer Trust described managing the massive estate — worth $100 to $300 million — as “challenging, to say the least” in a court filing.

In the hearing, a lawyer for Bremer Trust said outside experts were needed due to the complexities of managing Prince’s music catalog, contracts, licensing, copyright, digital streaming, dealing with online bootlegging and running Paisley Park. 

The attorney also expressed concern with the estate having enough cash on hand to pay the 47 to 50 percent of assets the government will take in taxes. The taxes are due on January 21, 2017.

However, a lawyer for Carlin Williams, the inmate who claims to be Prince’s biological son, argued outside experts should not be hired until the heirs are determined. The lawyer was concerned with experts singing lengthy contracts that could last beyond the limited time Bremer Trust manages the estate.

A few lawyers for other possible heirs asked that Bremer Trust’s contracts with experts be more limited. Others said they supported the Special Administrator’s request. 

The judge said he would make a decision by 9 a.m on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the process of determining heirs is picking up speed. Anyone who currently claims to be an heir must answer a questionnaire, under oath, before June 20. The questionnaire asks questions about family members. Bremer Trust will then have three days to accept the claims, deny the claims or order a DNA test.

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